• Last modified 146 days ago (Feb. 28, 2024)


County hires ambulance chief

After five months of being the county’s interim ambulance director —the second time he has served in that capacity — paramedic Chuck Kenney was hired Monday to lead the ambulance department on a permanent basis.

Commissioners hired him for $80,000 a year, 12,000 less than he made last year, when he got overtime for extra calls.

Commissioner Jonah Gehring said four people applied and two were interviewed.

The decision was neither easy nor fast, Gehring said.

“It was very tough,” he said. “We just wanted to be very thorough.”

The previous director, Curt Hasart, resigned in September while he was under investigation by the state for allegedly lying about having no pending criminal charges when he applied for a license in 2011.

Commissioners didn’t want to select Kenney simply because he was local. The second candidate would have moved from another state, Gehring said.

Commissioners wanted to make sure both had clean backgrounds. An interview panel met with both candidates.

Kenney was interim ambulance director between former director Travis Parmley’s resignation in July 2022 and Hasart’s October 2022 hiring.

He was hired at end of August 2019 and was a volunteer from 2008 to 2012.

Road project in question

Rebuilding six miles of 290th Rd. with help from a state grant for high-risk rural roads is in question after commissioners got a discouraging report on what the proposed project would cost the county.

Kenny Blair, with CFS Engineers in Topeka reported that the state designated just $800,000 for the job.

He recommended the county reduce the project to two or three miles.

Doing two miles would split the cost between the county and the state. Doing three miles would require the county to pay $1.6 million.

Commissioners were not eager to spend that much.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Made no decision on, how much of employees’ insurance share they want to pay. Total cost is going up 18%.
  • Heard that a fertilizer spill at Durham was cleaned up after emergency manager Marcy Hostetler phoned state authorities who said to wash down the spill but not spray it away with a fire hose.
  • Agreed with Hostetler that a trailer of outdated communications equipment could be converted to other uses.

Last modified Feb. 28, 2024